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Gigi, Julie de Carneilha, and Chance Acquaintances: Three Short Novels Paperback – October 10, 2001
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“The paradoxes of great literature are those of human nature, and Colette is nothing if not human . . . Accessible and elusive; greedy and austere; courageous and timid; subversive and complacent; scorchingly honest and sublimely mendacious; an inspired consoler and an existential pessimist--these are the qualities of the artist and the woman. Its is time to rediscover them.” ―From the Introduction
“Colette is one of the glories of France.” ―Michael Straight, The New Republic
Original Language: French
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Top Customer Reviews
Gigi is the story of a young woman brought up in a decadent, materialistic society. Her aunts have raised her to become a mistress, a courtesan for the wealthy. Gaston falls for Gigi, and attempts to make her his mistress. But Gigi refuses to be a part of the pretentious society in Paris, wanting an honest and open relationship based on love. In the end, she is granted this for remaining true to herself. Julie de Carneilha and Chance Encounters are striking tales of women in love, beautifully written and set in the opulence of Paris. Colette is a cosmopolitan writer, one can almost see her as she writes with a bottle of champagne on her writing desk, a view of the Eiffel tower from her window and a vivid imagination that takes flight.
"Gigi", the most popular from this collection, was actually my least favorite in the bunch. It was entertaining and sweet, but much less mature than the other two novellas. The one aspect of it that I loved were the sensory descriptions and I wondered how the original French might be different or the same.
The translation by Richard Senhouse was beautiful, word choices were entrancing.
My favorite selection was "Julie de Carneilhan" as the main character was such an independent spirit and unconventional in the same sense I believe Colette was. It was through this title I really felt like I got to know the author intimately. The writing style favors action with tightly woven descriptive and sensory elements which also tune into Colette's voluptuary leanings.
The introduction to the entire text by Judith Thurman provides a brief mini-biography which provided more details of the author's personal and creative life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I haven't read any other translations of Colette so I don't know how these compare with others but, I liked the book.Published 21 days ago by T. Dreiling
Three works by a great, albeit neglected author, in a nicely prepared edition. I recommend this highly, even to those unfamiliar with Colette.Published on July 21, 2013 by A. W. Moats
I've only read Gigi so far but Collette's a wonderful author of French literature; I totally recommend this book. A fun read if you like well written books!Published on July 2, 2013 by suki